Sunday, September 2, 2007

It's all about discipline!

As you can see by my previous post, it has been quite some time since I have last written. That's not to say that I haven't been reading, however. In fact, my google reader is constantly overflowing and, some days, it is all that I can do to keep it current. Hence the title of this post. For me, keeping current with educational issues and technology (these to things always go hand in hand) is extremely difficult. Given the current state of education and the paradigm shift it is constantly seeing, staying current is almost as bad as falling behind. What I mean by this is that in order to function these days you need to be a couple steps ahead of the game and be able to see things coming before they pass you by.

Take, for instance, wikispaces. It is a wonderful tool for anyone who wants to connect with people in their immediate workplace of across the globe. My school has just started using wikispace over the past two years and I fear that by the time most people feel comfortable enough to implement this tool into their teaching, something new will come along and the frustration levels will soar even higher. This continues to happen and people continue to get disenchanted with these tools and refuse to buy into them.

SO how can teachers move ahead without getting completely frustrated with everything that is available and able to sort through the good, the bad and the ugly?

For me it starts with discipline. This is ironic because, as an assistant principal, discipline takes up a big part of my day. I have decided to look at things from a different prospective. It's kind of like curriculum development in that I look at the big picture. I look at things conceptually. The idea behind something like wikispaces is that people should be able to contribute the the space and include their own resources instead of a static "web page" that is there strictly for the taking. Wikispaces give people the freedom to create content as well as take content, in a sense it gives people the freedom and the opportunity to have dialogue. This then is the concept I take in. To me it doesn't matter what you use to create that dialogue, as long as it is started and encouraged.

The discipline that I try to have is that I don't let myself get overwhelmed with the magnitude of "cool" things available but rather the magnitude of possibilities these "cool" things will allow. When you think about it all WEB 2.0 tools have one thing in common and that is that they are about sharing information. It is not practical to wait for the structure of our schools to change (although it is certainly going to happen in not to distant future) so we need to find ways to work around the limitations of the 40 minute class and give students (and teachers) tools that they can use to continue the discussions beyond the walls of the classroom.

As school is about to start next week here in NJ, I am hoping to get back on some sort of schedule that allows me to balance my life (professional and personal) and really concentrate on moving forward.

Here's looking forward to the next "cool" thing.

Powered by ScribeFire.